To finish the summary of topics presented at GTS, let’s look at the afternoon. Much about the history of Grand Canyon raft trips took place in the afternoon at GTS.
A late morning session on protecting the Grand Canyon was by the Grand Canyon Trust and the Native Voices Program. The proposed Grand Canyon Escalade Project on the Navajo reservation made national headline last year. At the west side of the South Rim, they will build hotel, shops, restaurant, and gondola tramway that will go from the Navajo land plateau for a ten minute ride down to a landing area that will have an amphitheater, snack bar and restroom, near the Little Colorado River (LCR). Some of the Navajo people oppose this project because they consider the river their sacred place. Save the Confluence website was set up to make sure people are informed. The Hopi tribe also opposes this and considers the river as their spiritual resting place. The developer of this project implies that a major goal is to bring jobs and homes to the area and the local Navajo people. Hatch supports the Save the Confluence program and recommends for all clients to check it out at some point.
As always a break takes place during the day for a delicious lunch. Buffet style and always delicious, this provides the perfect opportunity for socializing. An organization called Native Voices presented some traditional native foods. The Hopi people are famous for their blue corn dishes. The delight shared with river runners this day is called Hopi Somiviki. This is a delectable steamed blue corn dumpling. The flavor could be described as savory with a sweeter note reminiscent of a dessert. This is a traditional dessert wrapped in a corn husk and steamed in boiling water. It is blue in color and similar in texture to corn mush. Another offering from the Native Voices program was a traditional corn and bean salad. Learning about corn, which has been a native staple for centuries, enhances learning about the culture as well as the region.
One of the most fascinating historical topics were the endeavors of Verlen Kruger. Likely deserving of a summary all his own, Verlen was a canoing master and even paddled up the Colorado River from near Baja. Merieke Taney wove an intriguing tale of his life and conquests.
Something river runners always look forward to is the Superintendents address to the river community. With so much going on in the Grand Canyon community, something interesting that was brought up was bison. Apparently bison have a 40-50% reproduction rate per year. GCNP is talking about opening up hunting as the bison in the park have the ability to deplete natural ecosystems of the native plants and animals. The park has a plan to conserve and manage bison which might in the near future include hunting. Fascinating stuff considering the bison were not native and actually were brought to Northern Arizona in 1906.
Of course not all of the topics are covered in these summaries but here are a few ideas that people taking Grand Canyon raft trips might find interesting. Can’t wait for next year!